Wow. Tonight had so much butthurt after the decision was read that I think Google Earth could see it from their satellites. After much initial gloating that Frankie Edgar had regained his lightweight title following a closely contested five-round battle, the judges gave a split decision to the champion that sent some people into a frenzied, psychopathic rage. I fear several TVs will have received some unjust battered wife syndrome over it.
But more on that later. Overall, a good little card, other than Bruce Buffer changing his announcement for the main event to "IIIIIIIIIIIIITTTTT'S (fight) TIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIMMMME!" Seven stoppages in 10 fights is a nice little percentage I can live with more often. And very few fights disappointed, with perhaps the exception of the main event and the Jake Shields fight.
Without further ado, my impression of the first fight:
My pick: Lentz by decision
Reality: Lentz by TKO at 3:45 of round 1
Before you go praising Lentz for dominating this fight, which he did, let's consider Mitsuoka's recent track record. This was his fifth fight since November of 2009, going 2-3 in that time. He lost to Takanori Gomi in Japan after gassing out at UFC 144 in the original Edgar-Bendo. And now the 36-year-old fighter was coming across the ocean for the first time since 2001. It's not hard to predict what was going to happen.
Yes, Lentz beat the absolute coward out of Mitsuoka. He took him down repeatedly, got back mount, pounded on him, and pretty much controlled all of the nearly four minutes they were in the cage together. When it finally ended, Mitsuoka curled up in a ball and allowed Lentz's pillow punches to gently encourage referee Tim Mills to come over and put an end to the fighter's night and, we hope, his career.
Dustin Pague (C-) vs Chico Camus (B)
My pick: Pague by submission in round 2
Reality: Camus by decision
I don't know what to say. I thought Pague had the fight when he locked up a triangle in the second round. But it seems as though the man didn't pray to God enough because Camus escaped and went on to easily win via lay and pray (appropriate joke, I know).
You can't win a fight from your back unless you can finish your submissions, and Pague looked like he couldn't finish a ham sandwich tonight. He had Camus in a triangle in the second, and had his back about 10 seconds into the third. It looked ok until Pague basically lay there for a while doing nothing with the position, giving Chico the opportunity to reverse him and finish with his own back mount.
It's not like Camus looked particularly good in this one. It's that Pague looked like fucking horseshit. Maybe he should spend less time taking fights on two weeks notice and more time learning how to trane UFC.
My pick: Perez by TKO in round 3
Reality: Perez by KO at 0:17 of round 1
Here's how I envisioned the conversation of Ken Stone with his American Top Team training staff after the fight:
"What the fuck were you doing out there?"
"I was doing just what you told me to do!"
"Which is what? What do you think we told you to do?"
"Hands down, chin up, of course."
"No. No, listen. We've gone over this. It's hands up, chin down."
"Oh... shit. I always get that one backwards. Damn."
Not much to say in this one. Perez dropped Ken like a Stone, woke him up with a few more punches on the ground before Herb Dean jumped in and pulled them apart like Roseanne Barr on an Oreo cookie.
Don't worry, Hamman's going to be ok after a few stitches.
My pick: Kuiper by KO in round 1
Reality: Kuiper by TKO at 2:16 of round 2
I'm not sure why Joe Rogan and Mike Goldberg kept focussing on Jared Hamman being the "American Zombie" in this one. I thought Kuiper was more zombie-like, almost Terminator-like, walking through punches like they were nothing, to batter Hamman with nasty punches. Kuiper hit Hamman so many times I thought they might need Dr. Kevorkian ringside to euthanize the poor guy when the fight was finally stopped.
Still, credit goes to Hamman for being stupid enough not only to start the second round while looking like Hop-along Cassidy, but continuing to get up after being shot in the face. I suppose there's certain merit to the zombie label when a man gets up long after his brain seems to have checked out. It reminded me a little bit of Cool Hand Luke. At a certain point I expected the audience to start cringing and leaving the building before they witnessed the UFC's first fatality in the octagon.
Kuiper looked pretty impressive, but I'm not sure he can get away with trying to walk through punches like that against guys who hit hard and accurate. As for Hamman, he's only 30 but he might want to think about retirement before his brain gets donated for scientific research.
Dennis Bermudez (A-) vs Tommy Hayden (C+)
My Pick: Bermudez by TKO in round 2
Reality: Bermudez by submission at 4:43 of round 1
Credit goes to Dennis for not only surviving a nasty knee, but recovering, reversing the position, punishing Hayden, and finishing with a standing guillotine before the bell. Although Bermudez controlled most of the first round, it was a careless shot that nearly resulted in a fight-ending KO. Fortunately for Dennis, he was equipped with a chin hard enough to go into auto-pilot and finish the fight.
Let's not get too carried away here, though. Bermudez finished a guy who was finished in the first round of his UFC debut as well, and has wins against no notable fighters currently fighting in the premier MMA league. So although it's nice he has back-to-back wins, the jury's still out on the TUF finalist.
My pick: Lawrence by decision
Reality: Holloway by TKO at 4:49 of round 2
Let me show once again, for the record, what I wrote about Lawrence in my predictions post:
"Let the record show that I think Lawrence is the most overrated prospect to come out of TUF yet."
Still, I really did think that he would be able to take Holloway down and hold him there. I was wrong. The standup wasn't completely lopsided, and I actually gave Lawrence the first round for more strikes and the takedown. But the TUF scrub began gassing in the second round, running around the cage trying to avoid Holloway, before finally crumpling against the cage to a body blow.
I thought the stoppage was a little quick, but I suppose Lawrence turtled up and demonstrated the sort of heart you'd expect from a TUF scrub. A more resilient fighter might have tried to last the extra 11 seconds to the bell, but Lawrence saw a way out and took it.
My reaction to this fight.
My pick: Okami by decision
Reality: Okami by TKO at 3:09 of round 2
This wasn't a very good fight and it wasn't very close, though nobody expected it to be. Okami came out flat footed and began getting lit up by the unranked Buddy Roberts. For a few seconds it looked like an upset was in the making. But then Okami did what Okami does, took it south, and beat the tar fuck out of Roberts. In fact, I'd have given Okami a 10-8 first round, considering he finished the round with back mount, raining down about 20 unanswered punches.
The second round was more of the same. Roberts had been broken in the first round, so he came out, bent over, and took up straight up the pipe. At the end of the fight he turtled against the cage as Okami rained down pillows, until Herb Dean had seen enough. Roberts bounced up quickly, which pretty much demonstrated the defeat had been all mental and not much physical.
Okami gets a much-needed win, but has he proven he still has what it takes to hang with the big boys at 185. Doubtful at this point.
Jake Shields (C) vs Ed Herman (F)
My pick: Shields by decision
Reality: Shields by decision
What the fuck was the ginger doing out there? That's what everybody wants to know. Ed Herman, who had impressed in recent fights with his brutal uppercuts and nasty James Te-Huna-style standup, immediately clinched with Jake Shields, and proceeded to hand the fight away in all three rounds by ensuring the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu fighter had a takedown whenever he wanted it.
Shields' streak of looking awful in the UFC continued tonight with a relatively boring display of ineffective top control, looking for weak submissions, and throwing limp-wristed ground and pound. Herman, refusing to listen to his corner, engaged in the clinch in all three rounds, never really trying to sprawl and brawl, and never wanting to push away from the clinch, even while he controlled Shields against the cage for a good percentage of the time.
It was just confusing to watch Herman hand the win away. Having said that, I think people underestimate how powerful a wrestler Shields really is. Once he's on top of a guy, it's pretty hard to get up again. Just ask Dan Henderson.
My pick: Cerrone by submission in round 2
Reality: Cerrone by KO at 1:16 of round 1
Melvin, Melvin, Melvin. What are we going to do with you? Dude, you really suck. After almost shocking the MMA world by dropping Cerrone on his duff, Guillard uncharacteristically backed off and let Cerrone circle and come in for a head kick which followed with the KO. I don't really know how or why he fights the way he does.
Guillard has KO power. What I said in my predictions post is that he relies on a combination of three factors to win: speed, unpredictability, and power. Not utilizing all three is fatal. He had Cerrone rocked with the power, thanks to his speed and unpredictability. Then he backed off. Mistake. Big fucking mistake.
I'm sick of the excuses at this point. Sick of the potential, the evaluation of his power, his quickness, his dynamic striking. Melvin is a choke artist and will never be anything other than a guy who consistently fails when given a chance to get back into the mix.
Benson Henderson (C) vs Frankie Edgar (B-)
My pick: Bendo by decision
Reality: Bendo by split decision
You know what? I had it scored for Frankie Edgar, too. Barely. Bendo clearly outstruck Frankie in the first, dropped him with a leg sweep, and had a near-submission guillotine to end the round. Frankie followed that by dropping Bendo in the second, evening the rounds. I'd give the third to Frankie, by a hair, and the fourth to Bendo, though he was taken down. I had it 2-2 heading into the fifth. It was close but I'd score it for Frankie.
Look, Bendo didn't look great out there, and neither did Frankie. But the iron will of FE was apparent, doing his usual stick and move, staying away from the kicks that hurt him last time, and avoiding any deadly upkicks. Well, almost all of them. But nobody really impressed enough to say it was a robbery either way.
Even if we look at Fightmetric we're talking about a game of inches here. Bendo with 11-7 in round one, Edgar 10-7 in round two, Edgar 15-13 in round three, Bendo 17-15 in round four, Edgar 19-14 in round five. In a fight where the strikes are 66-62 do you really think it's a ROBBERY that Bendo won a SPLIT decision? Really? REALLY?
Come on. Fuck off. Look, this is the best for everybody. If Frankie won, you'd have heard the bullshit about Bendo deserving the trilogy match. Instead, we are set up for a number of exciting opportunities. Diaz versus Bendo, of course, but after that you might get Diaz versus Pettis or Bendo versus Pettis II. You unclog the lightweight division and start getting a number of exciting championship matches that don't involve the stick-and-move champion. So, relax. It's all good. Edgar might even go to 145 and try to stick-and-move Aldo, but if anyone can KTFO Frankie for the first time I think it's Jose.
SIG BET RAPAGE
Is it really fair to hand out a brutal sig after basically getting gifted a controversial decision by the judges? No, but here it is anyway.
To PrivateBox 1 week:
Sig: "The only thing private about my box is the actual number of times it's seen cock in it. I lost count after I passed out one night during a bukkake at the Blue Oyster."